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Friday, November 27, 2009

Triumphs Of Faith, Intuition, Logic Over What They Are Called

I was raised in a church and might have remained except for Jesus's habit of raising the dead, which I found unnerving. One puzzle of a child's eidetic memory is independence from the spoken word --a state closer to Logos than adults remember to credit. Before I talked, I thought this of church people: How lovely, what ARE they? The Logos, I should add, was an interrogative. I thought this not in words but in pictures, and events within the picture that struck me as delightful, uncertain, or, as in the universal 50s experience of sitting behind a church lady who still had heads on her mink, insane and scary and did she kill them herself. It is still what I think in church, how I feel.

When I learned to talk, I asked things: I learned church people had faith; that faith acts upon information that is, by nature and circumstance, inconclusive. It is what happens when certainty is in short supply, and how people proceed, get on with life, when ignorance is unavoidable.

Later I learned people of faith were divided into those who made an effort to justify their beliefs and those who felt no need. Faith is justified in retrospect. Those who practiced this would review its successful episodes of guidance with appreciation, sometimes with bewilderment, quite often with hilarity.

Unjustified faith is simply never looking back, a voluntary blindness. It is often defensive and intolerant --a constant irrational argument infavor of itself. It is a survival bellow, very loud. Being a sensitive child, I avoided it and looked to logic.

Logic doesn't argue so much as avoid other methods in which facts are insufficient. But, where progress is imperative, a preponderance of evidence may suffice where fact is unavailable. This approximates intuition, a reasonable response to important but disorganized data, and is closer to logic than faith.

I am embarrassed by how old I was before I stopped arguing theology. At some point --probably after fatherhood-- I compared conflicting churches to kids going, "Is so! Is not! Is so! Is not!" When I gauged the two sides of the argument I found them of equal depth. Sustained debate on the subject can have no outcome other than to make the participants sick. I have seen this.

I suspect church people are acting out of some natural statement that can take no other form in them. I intuit it, which is less exclamatory only because it takes longer. It gives onto logic, which takes longer still. The feeling common to faith, intuition and logic is that something has opened, moved and caused ripples upon the surface of the waters; something tremendous has happened. Very much like falling in love --itself too intense for analysis-- which is esteemed by church people, intuitives, logicians alike, and misunderstood by all. As a unifying force, love elevates the enigma and will doubtless save us all if we do it more.


  1. Wow, dude, this is very impressive, especially for a first post. My first post was more along the lines of, "Hello, world! Anybody there?"

    My grandmother had one of those creepy mink stoles with all of the little heads on it, too. I can't say that I was terribly happy when I inherited it. I ended up giving it to my sister-in-law, who used it to dress one of the bear dolls she makes and sells. (No word as to whether or not she kept the heads on it...)

    Your description of the squabbling between different religions is spot on.

    1. Thoughtful Susan, thank you for time-traveling back to comment. Here in 2009, I am only recently retired and learning how to blog. Much encouraged by a comment from 7 years in the future! This is going to be fun!

  2. Without love, would there be any point to living? It's the primary thing that gives me hope for humanity.

    The words in the middle of your last paragraph, Geo, reminded me immediately of the Bible verse I remember most vividly from my earliest childhood days: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." It still gives me shivers of awe and mystery.

    Trying to understand that contributed to my lifelong fascination with geology and earth history. I'm still looking for answers for why we are here, sentient, and conscious. I'm currently slogging through a book on parallel universes and the deep laws of the cosmos that is much easier to understand than the Bible and other religious texts.

    I certainly hope my lack of faith doesn't have me looking back in retrospect from the fire and brimstone my Uncle Cuppy was always warning me about!

    Oh yes, I sat in church with my grandmother who had a fox stole wrapped around her: head, glass eyes, and tail; but it was the four legs and feet that really creeped me out. I always thought that if those little legs had run faster, the poor fox wouldn't have ended up around Nana's neck. I hadn't realized that the fox probably came from my deceased great uncle's fox farm in PEI.

    This first post was lightyears beyond mine! Here's a hope for 7X7 more years of great posts from you!

    1. Most kind Blue, thank you! It's a fine world that has you in it.


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